The Afghanistan cricket team claimed an historic victory today, at the qualifying tournament for this years Twenty20 World Cup, the war ravaged nation defeated the USA by 29 runs. In the process entering the next round matches undefeated.
The Afghans won the toss and elected to bat. Making 136-4 in the allotted time. After the early dismissal of opener Mohammad Shahzad (0), captain Nowroz Mangal (30) and talismatic youngster Noor Ali (26) built the foundations for their teams third consecutive victory.
With valuable contributions also coming from the middle order they had set their opponents an imposing target, and with wickets in hand they would have been quietly confident of the progression to the next stage.
The US openers would face some hostile treatment early on from the Afghani bowling attack. Opener Carl Wright (28) top scoring for his side in a solid looking performance.
There was however a young man who was about to steal the show. Bowler Hamid Hassan, he would bowl 4 overs that wouldn't look out of place on the grand stage of the World Twenty20.
Taking 3-14 and restricting the US to a total of 106-7, Hassan looked a real prospect and at only 22 looks like a real start of the future.
They had won, beaten their bitterest of rivals on the political front by 29 runs. In doing so they also made their way into the Super 4's. There they will carry 2 points over after remaining unbeaten in the first group stage.
As I have previously written on here I believe that they have the talent and application to not just qualify for the T20 tournament, but also over the next decade to really make a push and become the best non test playing nation in the world. Even maybe in the future being granted test status and challenging the likes of India and Australia.
Afghanistan deserve this as a nation, with all that has happened in that part of the world they deserve the glory of both this victory and reaching the next stage will bring.
The main men:
Three Afghan players to keep an eye in the next few years.
Nowroz Mangal - Team captain and right handed batsmen, Mangal has lead his team form the very beginning of their first class playing days. A true leader and talented batsmen will be there for many years to come. Also bowls right off-breaks.
Noor Ali - A technically astute right handed batsmen who has excellent stats to back his ability up. On first class debut against a Zimbabwe XI, Ali scored 130 in the first innings followed up by 100 not out in the second. Only 21 will develop in the coming years.
Hamid Hassan - A truly gifted right arm fast/medium bowler, Hassan also has the personality and charisma to boot. A former MCC Young Player he will be the spearhead of the bowling attack for years to come. Although untried at the top level is considered a world class prospect by those in the know.